Throughout The Car Industry
Review of the 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn: Lavish Excess at its Best
Let’s face it: If you are one of the few people on earth who are lucky enough to be in the market for a new Rolls-Royce, you must have done something right at some point. Whether that’s making the right decision on which way to take your company, or make the decision to simply start a company in the first place and then make it successful. Or it could be just making the right call when it came to the stock market, knowing when to buy and when to sell… Or maybe it was the same case in real estate. Maybe, you were just lucky enough to be born into a family that already has its fortune, and all you need to do is not piss your parents off to the point of jeopardizing your trust fund. Any of these are potential possibilities, and of course there are dozens more. But for most people, even successful ones, getting to the point where you can afford a car that costs more than the median price of a home in a nice neighborhood takes time and effort in one way or another. But when you finally make it to that magical threshold where you can cut a check for that kind of money, what you get had better be well worth it.
The 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn is a car that is all about excess. It revels in the luxuriousness of itself, and apologizes for none of its over-the-top excess, because Rolls knows that the people who are laying out the cash for these cars probably don’t much feel like explaining or apologizing to anyone in life anymore, so why should their car? It takes only a glance to tell that the Dawn is posh personified. For a four-person car, the Dawn is huge. Huge. With a 122.5-inch wheelbase, this car measures 208.5 inches in length and tips the scales at a whopping 5,776 pounds. Just for reference, a standard Mini Cooper, which can also hold four passengers fairly easy, is more than four feet shorter and weighs in at less than half of this mega-cruiser. So those four lucky passengers are treated to one of the finest drives in the world, thanks to unbelievably comfortable seats that sport possibly the softest leather in the world. That combined with the elegant (and real) wood trim create a wonderfully inviting space. The instrumentation is reserved and simple. It executes a straightforward mission: Give the driver uncomplicated, efficient feedback.
The power folding, six-layer top goes up or down almost silently, and tons (almost literally) of noise isolation is employed to keep the sounds of the outside world, outside, of the cabin. The rear-hinged power-closing doors serve not only as a source of perpetual questions from onlookers and gawkers, it's also a source of incredible admiration, jealousy, and probably some mild disdain from your average Corolla driver. There is also a switch to keep the Flying Lady emblem up on the hood, or with the flip of your finger, hide her away in a trap door. Necessary? No. Pretty cool? Yup. Aside from a few very nifty gimmicks, the Dawn does employ quite a bit of very useful tech. Things like radar-based cruise control, lane departure warning, Heads Up Display, and even a 10.3-inch infotainment screen that is controlled by what’s called, “The Spirit of Ecstasy”. It might be a title that is a bit over the top, especially when the system is essentially a simplified version of BMW’s system. If all of that is a bit too much to handle, you could always just forget about it and kick back and listen to the bespoke audio system that surrounds the cabin with eighteen speakers in total.
The hand-built Dawn isn’t all soft however. Not by a long shot. Rolls knows that its owners are probably going to be around men or women, because after all, they’ve probably accomplished something of value to be browsing their showrooms. So, in order to feed, or perhaps simply protect that pride, the Dawn offers up some incredible power… Just in case that smartass Civic owner wants to try and jump you off of a green light to prove some point to themselves. Powering this gargantuan vehicle is an equally massive all-aluminum, direct-injected 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 that puts down a hearty 563 horsepower and 575 earth-moving pound-feet of torque. All of that power gets routed to the rear wheels through a ZF 8-speed automatic that is as smooth as a baby’s bottom, despite having to change gears for a car that weighs as much as a small bus and has as much power as a Nissan GTR.
And while there is a lot of car to move out, the twin-turbo V12 is more than up to the challenge, and is aided by a very slippery drag coefficient of 0.33. 0–60 mph comes up in only 4.3 blistering seconds, 0–100 mph blows by in only 9.9 seconds, while the quarter-mile flies by in only 12.8-seconds @ 114 mph, and it tops out at a governed 155 mph. Braking from 70–0 mph takes only 162 feet, which given the Dawn’s weight, is almost miraculous. The skidpad seems to be the only Achilles’ heel of the Dawn, posting only a 0.83 g. This could be because of the nature of convertibles to be less twist-happy than their hardtop counterparts. Or it could possibly be due to the Continental 255/40/R21 front and 285/35/R21 rear tires that may just be a bit too narrow and overmatched for the size and power of the Rolls. The fuel economy of the Dawn isn’t exactly amazing either, posting a 12/19 city/highway mpg, but, then, if you can afford a car like this, gas probably isn’t going to be an issue unless it hits around $50 a gallon.
So the question is, with a base price of $335,000, is the Rolls-Royce Dawn worth it? The answer to that question seems more difficult than at first glance. Some will say absolutely no, because no car is worth a small lottery jackpot, while others will say yes simply because they think as long as something costs a lot, it is worth its price. Neither of these is correct. It just depends on your perspective. If you are not in the position to buy a car of this magnitude, then no, you’re probably better off investing in a mortgage. But, if you are one of those very accomplished few, and 300–400 grand is nothing than spending money, the Rolls-Royce Dawn is an incredibly competent, uncompromisingly comfortable, and respectably powerful daily driver that will never cease to impress, or lavishly spoil its driver whether one is going to the opera, or to the bank. So the answer is up to you. But, again, if you aren’t one of those chosen few to be able to make a decision like this, perhaps the Dawn will serve as a bit of motivation to get out there and start working just a little bit harder.
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Posted In: Car Reviews, Professional Car Reviews
Tags: reviews, rolls royce, Dawn, 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn
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